Key US installations set to remain in Germany

20th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 August 2004 , STUTTGART - Three main of the US's military installations in Germany are set to remain despite President George W. Bush's announcement this week that he was pulling up to 70,000 military personnel out of Europe and Asia, said the deputy commander of US forces in Europe.

20 August 2004

STUTTGART - Three main of the US's military installations in Germany are set to remain despite President George W. Bush's announcement this week that he was pulling up to 70,000 military personnel out of Europe and Asia, said the deputy commander of US forces in Europe.

General Charles F. Wald named those installations as Spangdahlem Air Force Base and Ramstein Air Force Base, both on Germany's western fringe, and the European Command (EUCOM) in Stuttgart.

"There is no reason to make changes there," he told a news conference in Stuttgart. He did not specify force numbers at the three sites, nor did he comment on the future of installations in other parts of Germany, such as at Grafenwoehr, near Nuremberg.

A week ago, the Pentagon cleared massive investments to expand the army training ground at Grafenwoehr, which includes gunnery ranges and a mock-up village for house-to-house fighting practice. The 37,000-hectare facility is the biggest training base off US soil.

Base officials say the expansion forms part of the redeployment scheme and is already under way. German firms are being invited to build and lease back homes for an additional 8,500 troops who are soon to move there.

Ramstein is the US Air Force's headquarters and main transport hub in Europe, while Spangdahlem is home to fighter units.

Elsewhere in the southern half of Germany, where US military bases are dotted across the map, it has been an anxious week for many German communities as they wait for news of possible closures of the smaller, more remote sites.

Bush said the redeployment, which represent the biggest global realignment of US forces since the Cold War, would take place over the next 10 years.

There are currently 73,000 American military personnel deployed to Germany, and along with 100,000 dependents and ancillary personnel they form a sizeable market for goods and services.

More than 16,000 US civilians work on the bases as do 16,600 locally engaged employees who are mostly German nationals.

Smaller towns say they will be badly hit when the Americans pack their bags and leave.

A large number of the bases are close to one another in the south and west of Germany, the part of the country that was briefly the US zone of occupation after the Second World War.

The US military has a variety of German real estate ranging from huge training areas down to lone houses. The following list of what can loosely be called "bases" comprises the 17 US Army headquarters on German soil plus a variety of other very large facilities.

About 20 percent of the US military in Germany belong to the US Air Force, which has its headquarters at Ramstein, close to the German city of Kaiserslautern in Rhineland Palatinate state.

Ramstein Air Force Base is a main cargo trans-shipment point for military freight bound to and from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other points in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Medical evacuations are also conducted through the base.

In addition to enlisted personnel, nearly 90,000 wives, children and other family of personnel live in Germany, according to figures last year.

[Copyright DPA with Expatica]

Subject: German news

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